To vote or not to vote? Runners consider casting their first ballots

Destinee Sims and Valeria Roman

As the U.S. presidential election approaches, citizens are finding themselves feeling conflicted about their right to vote. For many U.S. citizens, voting feels like a great privilege and creates a sense of empowerment. However, some Americans find themselves unsure about casting their ballot for the first time. 

Qualifying Americans opt to abstain from voting for a variety of reasons, including nerves over submitting their first ballot. 

Many CSUB students will have the chance to cast their first vote this year, with some having expressed excitement about their ability to contribute to society and potentially create change.  

Alondra Ramirez, a junior math major, was one of many Runners that were able to vote in the 2018 elections, but were still underage during the last presidential election in 2016. Now, Ramirez is ready to use her voice for those who cannot. 

“I am definitely voting, because during the last presidential elections I was too young to vote and hated the feeling that I had. I am using my vote because of people who live in [this] country and are unable to vote, regardless of their reason,” Ramirez wrote. 

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Not all Runners share their classmates’ optimistic views though, as multiple CSUB students state they do not feel ready to vote yet and would like to abstain from this year’s election. 

“I just think that our vote doesn’t make a difference in who gets chosen for presidency or anything like that,” Dusty Rose Forty, a junior art and psychology major, wrote. 

It is unclear how many students have decided to abstain after the U.S. Electoral College representatives’ cast their votes for Donald Trump in 2016 after Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. 

Some uncertain Runners have determined that they will vote before the election window ends.

“I’m 24 and this will be my first-time voting. I didn’t vote previously because I didn’t feel I was educated enough to vote. I didn’t really follow politics before and never took the time to really look into it. I still don’t really follow politics and even though I still don’t think my vote matters, in the end with everything that has happened this year I think it’s important for me to vote,” Karla Gomez, a junior business major, wrote. 

First-time voters are encouraged to explore the resources available to help them prepare to cast a ballot that accurately expressed their hopes for the United States. 

CSUB instructor Dr. Ivy Cargile, Assistant Professor of Political Science, encouraged students to go out and vote. Cargile disagrees with the belief that a single vote doesn’t count.  

“Every vote matters. When elections are this competitive every vote counts. Every little grain of sand that is put in either jar matters. Some elections have come so close that the difference was one hundred votes. So, your votes do matter. […] If you never invest yourself in the system, the system is going to completely pass you by. […] You can’t complain when you haven’t tried to do anything to fix it,” Cargile said. 

Cargile urged students to keep in perspective how important the votes from the 18 to 29-year-olds population are, as youth voters make up approximately a quarter of the U.S. population that is eligible to vote. 

With each election ballot serving as a symbol for the American voice, it is ultimately up to students to decide how they wish to be heard.